Helper’s High: How Doing Good Can Make You Feel Good

Posted on October 18th, 2014

By Edie Weinstein, LSW

Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” — Ann Herbert

The term “random acts of kindness” has long been part of the vernacular. For some people, it may take the form of paying the toll for the person behind you on the turnpike. For others, it could be leaving a care package on a neighbor’s doorstep.

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BMI, Gender Affect Young Adults’ Alcohol Consumption

Posted on October 17th, 2014

People who consume alcohol excessively in episodes of binge drinking or regularly maintain a pattern of heavy drinking have clearly increased risks for a range of alcohol-related problems, including potentially fatal accidents and alcohol use disorder (diagnosable alcohol abuse/alcoholism). In a study published in September 2014 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, researchers from two U.S. universities examined the connection that body fat measurements called BMI scores have to the amount of alcohol typically consumed by young men, as well as to the amount of alcohol typically consumed by young women.

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Young Adults Add Habit, Boredom to Reasons They Smoke Pot

Posted on October 16th, 2014

The Marijuana Motives Measure (MMM) is a 25-question screening tool designed to help researchers, addiction specialists and mental health professionals understand the specific reasons people start using or continue to use the addictive recreational drug marijuana. This screening tool uses the answers to its 25 questions to identify five general motivations that can contribute to marijuana intake. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, a team of Dutch researchers examined the accuracy of the Marijuana Motivations Measure and assessed its usefulness for understanding young adults who regularly use marijuana.

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Evidence Piles Up for Food Addiction

Posted on October 11th, 2014

Food addiction is a term commonly used to identify a dysfunctional, addictive relationship to the intake of highly satisfying foods. Although not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as of 2014, the condition has the hallmarks of a recognized, diagnosable problem called a behavioral addiction or addictive disorder. In two studies published in March 2014 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers from Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium conducted testing designed to determine if some people lose part of their ability to control their eating when offered certain types of food. Such a loss of behavioral control would constitute additional support for the reality of a food addiction diagnosis.

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Women More Susceptible to THC, Study Finds

Posted on October 9th, 2014

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana and other forms of the plant drug cannabis. Among other things, this chemical plays a key role in promoting the repeated drug use that can lead to the onset of a cannabis/marijuana addiction. In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from two U.S. institutions explored the role that gender plays in determining a person’s susceptibility to the effects of THC. These researchers concluded that body changes related to the hormone estrogen leave women substantially more exposed to the chemical’s impact.

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Healing Complex Trauma for Addiction Recovery

Posted on October 8th, 2014

A young woman with self-described ‘commitment phobia’ turns to substances to numb the pain of a troubled childhood.

A young woman drives into therapy. Aamori complains to her therapist that all of her relationships end just after the one-year mark, just as things begin to get serious. The reason, she explains, is that she gets cold feet. After a little exploration, the young TV producer describes what she thinks happens: around one year, a relationship has become serious enough that a guy begins to let down his guard and open up. Aamori generally enjoys this part of the relationship … for a little while. A boyfriend then begins to share his feelings, she says, maybe even saying the “L” word – something she’s not sure she’s ever felt. (When her therapist asks her to imagine speaking the words “I love you” to a man, she reports her feeling as “terrified.”) When she doesn’t return a man’s feelings, he first seems hurt. Then something innocuous happens and they argue. Very soon, he’s raising his voice (shouting) and walking out. She’s left feeling devastated and abandoned, but when he comes back, ready to make amends – after all, he loves her – she’s not willing to let it slide. She declares that she doesn’t want to see this side of a man, and isn’t very willing to trust. She hasn’t dated in four years.

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Male College Students More Likely to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol

Posted on October 7th, 2014

In the U.S., college enrollment is traditionally linked to a rise in alcohol consumption, as well as increased participation in binge drinking and other dangerous drinking practices. Significant numbers of college students also abuse drugs or medications; however, patterns of abuse are not necessarily evenly distributed among college men and college women. As part of an annual survey project called Monitoring the Future, federally sponsored researchers from the University of Michigan examined the differences in the patterns of abusive substance intake common to college students in each of the genders.

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Marijuana Impairs Teens’ Working Memory

Posted on October 5th, 2014

Significant numbers of American teenagers use/abuse the plant-based drug cannabis (especially marijuana); in addition, a smaller number of teens use/abuse an opioid drug or medication. In a study published in August 2014 in the journal Substance Abuse, researchers from four U.S. institutions explored the impact that cannabis use and opioid use have on teenagers’ ability to use a form of memory called working memory. All humans rely on this form of memory to record short-term information, focus attention and complete a range of essential tasks.

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Using Text Messaging to Alter Drinking Behavior in Young Adults

Posted on September 28th, 2014

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that using text messaging to acquire data that calculates and keeps track of one’s drinking can not only offer immediate feedback and information to people discharged from the hospital, but it can also cut down on drink-related issues and accidents.

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Rave Parties and the Abuse of Club Drugs

Posted on September 27th, 2014

Once found primarily in large metropolitan areas, rave parties are making their way into more rural settings. Increasingly, parents need to understand what is meant by the term and what happens at the parties once kids get there.

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